well-being

Category: well-being

Life Lately

What I’m reading

What I’m excited about

What I’m struggling with

  • Setting up a content calendar.
  • Organizing my week better based on energy levels.

What I’m working on

  • The Tranquility Salon workbook and online offering.
  • Fall TranquiliT collection.

What I’m wearing

Obsessed with the slip dress over the fleece perfect pant (I know, it’s 90 degrees, but they’re SO cozy).

What I’m loving

  • Iced Stash Moroccan Mint Green tea.
  • Fancy barrettes to hold my bangs as they grow out.
  • Leopard-print everything.
  • Blank spiral 4×6 journals.
  • Soft lacy bralettes.

What I’m eating

  • Brown rice with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
  • Ezekiel toast with vegan butter and cheese.
  • Weekly box from Purple Carrot.

What I’m grateful for

  • Healthy pets.
  • Weighted blankets.
  • Pink pens.
  • Quiet nights at home.

Tranquilosophy: Pet Loss & Grief

Last night I facilitated a Pet Loss Support Group at Dupont Veterinary Clinic and wanted to share some of the material with you. Although I offered to host it two months ago, I felt nervous as the date approached. Would I do a good job? Would I hold it together considering I’m still mourning the loss of Louis four years later? Would the participants get what they needed? Would my veterinary social work training be enough material?

Arriving 20 minutes early, I settled into the room to review my notes, take deep breaths, and set a clock within view to monitor the group’s pace.

Once the participants arrived, I welcomed them, shared the agenda, set group guidelines, and gave a brief introduction into the challenge of pet loss. Namely, it’s often labeled “disenfranchised grief” as it’s minimized/not openly acknowledged by society, not publicly mourned or socially supported, and there’s no recognized way of grieving.

Also, I highlighted that the loss of a pet is so intense because they’re part of our socialization: daily schedules, cognitive stimulation, exercise, physical security, sense of purpose, identity, serve as reminders of previous relationships/identities, and come with no baggage (you know, we’re not still holding on to what they said when we were six).

Then the group introduced themselves and shared their stories. Afterwards we honed in on a few themes that tend to arise–guilt, feeling irritable, upset at those close to them who don’t get it or grieve differently, feeling tired, unable to focus at work, to get a new pet or not.

Next, I shared an assortment of coping strategies to help keep their continuing bond (find a way to stay connected): Write a letter. Tell a story. Write favorite memories. Create a scrapbook or online photo album. Draw a picture. Display their favorite toys, collars, or clips of hair or braided tails. Create a memory box or memory garden (tree or flowers). Donate some of pet’s items or $ to a shelter in pet’s memory. Hold a memorial service. Clay print their paws. And more!

To close, I went through William Warden’s Four Tasks of Mourning:

1. Accept the reality of the loss

2. Experience the pain of grief

3. Adjust to an environment in which the pet is missing

4. Keep a connection with the pet while also moving forward

Here’s another thoughtful piece on Warden’s work as it relates to pets.

Whew, heavy stuff. After our goodbyes, I walked home with a full heart and gratitude. Grateful for hearing their stories. Grateful for the love our furry beings give us and allow us to offer. Grateful that they found the experience helpful. Grateful for the opportunity to facilitate this work. And grateful for my three rescue pugs (and one rescue kitty) who give me so much.

If you or someone you know is dealing with the loss of a pet, here are some additional resources:

redrover.org/resource/pet-loss-resources/

rainbowsbridge.com/Grief_Support_Center/Grief_Support_Home.htm

lapoflove.com/community/Pet-Loss-Support

resources.bestfriends.org/article/pet-loss-and-grief-resources

pet-loss.net/https://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/pet-loss/

What an honor it is to love and be loved by these beautiful beings. And how painful it is when they leave us, often much too soon. Sending love to you and your furry friend. Bisous. x

Self-Care: Deep Breathing

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

Deep, full breathing is an important part of our self-care practice and easy peasy to do in the moment. Each day, pause and take 5-10 deep breaths when you think of it.

Draw the breath in through the nose and fill your belly, ribcage, and chest. Exhale through the nose and release your chest, ribcage, and belly.

Breathe deeply when you’re at a stoplight, stuck in traffic, on a tough call, in a frustrating meeting, soaking in the tub, having dinner with your family—truly, anytime!

Deep breathing helps with digestion, energy, and relaxation.

Excerpt from Year of Tranquility. Download the 15 suggested self-care practices in Tranquil Treasures.